"I eventually found myself self-censoring," Sister Elizabeth Johnson said. "I thought, ‘Do I want to live life with these constraints?" Johnson then joined the Department of Theology at Fordham and published She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (Crossroad Publishing, 2002). The award-winning volume calls for feminist language about God. "Father [Joseph M. McShane, S.J, president of Fordham], then the dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, was thrilled; he threw a big party for my department," Sister Johnson recalled.
"There’s no question I found academic freedom here." A focal point of the evening was Decree 14 of General Council 34, a document issued by the Society of Jesus in 1995 that commits "in a more formal and explicit way to regard solidarity with women as integral to our mission."Sister Johnson said she supports the document, but added that the goal of Decree 14 remains unfulfilled. "There was tremendous excitement when it was approved, but I’m afraid it’s petered out," she said. "When Decree 14 was new, I harkened back to the Jesuits that were martyred in El Salvador in 1989 because they were helping the poor," she said. "They took Decree 4 of General Council 32 [on social justice] seriously and were martyred. I said that if the Jesuits take Decree 14 just as seriously, there will be martyrs."